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Goose Lake Watershed (USGS #18020001)

The Goose Lake watershed is located in the northeastern corner of California and south-central Oregon. The basin encompasses a total of 704,000 acres, and lies within a semiarid plain surrounded by mountains reaching 7,000 feet in elevation. All surface water in the basin drains into Goose Lake, which occupies 144 square miles, the majority of which are in California. In Oregon, over 800 miles of streams flow into Goose Lake. Major streams include Dry, Mill, Drews, Antelope, Cottonwood, Thomas, Crane, Cogswell, Tandy, and Kelley Creeks, which are fed by snowmelt and precipitation. Rainfall averages between 12 to 14 inches per year within the watershed.

 Goose Lake

Goose Lake (Oregon State Archives)

The watershed supports a surprisingly high number of native fish species, 8 in all. Four of these species -- Goose Lake redband trout, Goose Lake Sucker, Goose Lake Tui chub, and Goose Lake lamprey - are considered endemic to the area and are known to spend at least part of their lives in the lake. The other four native species are primarily stream-dwelling, and include the Pit-Klamath brook lamprey, speckled dace, Pit roach, and Pit scalping.

People have been drawn to the Goose Lake Basin for over 10,000 years, primarily because of its wealth of natural resources. Today, approximately 45% of the basin is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Private land accounts for 27% of the land base within the watershed. Land is used for ranching, timber management, and outdoor recreation. Conservation remains a high priority for watershed residents, and local landowners and other stakeholders have participated in many restoration efforts.


The Environmental Protection Agency's Surf Your Watershed website for the Goose Lake watershed

University of California profile on the Goose Lake Watershed Restoration Project

USGS water resources links for the Goose Lake watershed

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Strategy for Monitoring Oregon's Waters

Authored by Caitlin Bell, Science Writer, Oregon Explorer and Lakes Basin Watershed Council